January 8 – This Day in Country Music

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1928
Born on this day in Tennessee, was Luther Perkins, guitarist who played an essential role in defining Johnny Cash’s “boom-chicka-boom” rockabilly sound. Perkins is lauded in the title of Cash’s Top 10 1959 single “Luther Played The Boogie”. Perkins died in a house fire on Aug 3rd 1968 after he apparently went to sleep in the living room of his home while holding a lit cigarette.

1935
Born on this day in East Tupelo, Mississippi, was Elvis Presley. Before emerging as the “King of Rock & Roll,” Presley made inroads in country, where he returned during his latter years. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998. Presley died on Aug 16th 1977.

1940
Born on this day, was Cristy Lane, country music and gospel music singer, best known for a number of major country hits in the late 70s and the early 1980s, including her cover version of the song, “One Day at a Time”.

1979
American country music musician, singer, and songwriter Sara Carter died aged 80. She was the lead singer on most of the recordings of the historic Carter Family act in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1993, her image appeared on a US postage stamp honoring the Carter Family. In 2001 she was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.

1994
Faith Hill’s first single release, “Wild One” was at #1 on the US Country chart. The song spent four weeks atop the Billboard chart, the longest for a debut release by a female artist since Connie Smith’s debut “Once a Day” in 1964.

2007
Tim McGraw released “Last Dollar (Fly Away)” which became his twenty-first US #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. Big Kenny, one-half of country rock duo Big & Rich, wrote “Last Dollar” after a disastrous night of gambling in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve in 2002.

2015
The funeral for Little Jimmy Dickens was held at the Grand Ole Opry House, who had died on Jan 2nd aged 94. Dickens was entombed in the Cross Mausoleum at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville. He started as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.

2021
American country music songwriter, singer, and actor Ed Bruce died age 81. He is best known for writing the 1975 song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and recording the 1982 country hit “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had”. He also co-starred in the television series Bret Maverick with James Garner during the 1981-82 season.